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Diabetes

Diabetes

The latest statistics describe that Diabetes effects more than 24 million people in our society. Somewhere around 18 million are already diagnosed and more than 6 million are unaware that they have it. It can damage a wide range of organs and tissues in the body, and contributes to a progressive destruction of our hearts, blood vessels, eyes and nerves. Sadly these statistics have been increasing over the past decades . It has become one of the most costly diseases to treat. In order to really make a difference in this circumstance we need to understand some basic, yet crucial, information about human anatomy, biochemistry and nutrition. Typically, and basically, as we eat a variety of foods, our blood glucose levels begin to rise. As this occurs, and depending upon type and quantity of food, we release insulin from the pancreas to help control, lower, or keep blood glucose in an appropriate range. Excess intake of carbohydrate or sugar can elevate glucose levels rapidly and create a larger requirement or release of insulin. If we are unable to make enough insulin in response to the need , the blood glucose levels remain elevated. This sets the stage for a variety problems. Diabetes Mellitus is characterized by significant elevations of blood glucose resulting from defects in insulin production or action. Type 1 Diabetes exists when children or young adults lose the ability to make insulin, and need to take insulin to control blood sugar. This can arise as a result of immune destruction of pancreatic beta cells, genetic and environmental factors. Type 2 Diabetes exists where people are able to make insulin, but not enough to control glucose. This accounts for over 90% of all cases of Diabetes. The cells may not be using insulin properly. It has been described as insulin resistance. It is usually seen in the older populations, but has recently crept into the teen and adolescent categories. It is also thought that people that have hypoglycemia, low blood sugar episodes, have a significant risk of developing Type 2. These individuals may have been eating too much carbohydrate and therefore producing excess insulin over many years and have “worn out” pancreatic function. The continued overexposure to carbohydrate overwhelms the ability to produce insulin, resulting in a persistent elevation of blood glucose.

As glucose remains above appropriate levels, it can damage the lining of the blood vessels in any part of the body. It can also destroy nerve tissue. Diabetics can typically have neuropathy at extremities, hands and feet, as well as significant sensory loss at any nerve endings. Hence, multi organ effect.

For many years the treatment of these disorders have been focused on creating a medication regimen to force more insulin production or change the way our bodies use or accept insulin. Over many years people seem to be taking many more, and multiple medications but are not really doing much better with the disease. It seems to be marching on doing its destruction in spite of the efforts.

Traditional approach has unfortunately missed or ignored the most important consideration in the entire picture. Nutrition.

With a clear understanding of what is occurring, it would make sense that one with elevated blood sugar might benefit from decreasing sugar or carbohydrate in the diet. It would seem reasonable that if one were to decrease intake of sugars that the circulating blood sugar would be likely to decline. Well, as it turns out this is exactly what occurs. Over many tears and many patients I have observed significant improvement in such, so that many of the type 2 Diabetics can come off of their medication. This does not hold true for the type 1 cases, because they do not have anywhere near enough insulin production, but even with those that need insulin, the dose can be lowered. This closely monitored protocol can dramatically change the disease and its progression to other organ damage. It is essential for all Diabetics to understand optimal nutrition.